Working More Productively

October 5, 2011

Lately I have been trying to work more productively. I want to ensure I am getting all the work done that I need to without spilling over into time designated for something else.

Most people have heard about or been part of a discussion of working more productively. It penetrates the conversations of college students, occupations of all sorts of varieties, parents, and even some high school students recognize the importance of using their time wisely.

So how do we go about doing this? How do we go from just talking about being more productive to actually doing it. How do we go from being productive “when I have to be” to doing it all of the time so we will not have quite as many “crunch times.”

I have thought up a list of ways to stomp out nonproductive work. This list is in no way exhaustive but it will at least get the mind juices flowing.

Get to sleep at a decent hour. That’s right I am starting off with the hard one. So many people do not get enough sleep. We stay up late into the night or early morning and then expect to operate at high levels during the day. This wears the body out and nobody (not even if you think you can) works well when they are worn out. The best thing to do is to go to bed earlier and wake up before 11am!

Find your creative times. Not everyone works at their peaks in the same places or during the same time of day. I have discovered that early morning  before I head in to the office is when I am most creative. Find this time and then stick to it. Instead of trying to force yourself to be creative other places or times, take advantage of how God has designed you. (Want to read another blog about this? Click here.)

Block out times you plan to work hard. Write down a schedule of tasks for the day or block out an period during your day to just write, read, or get some other task accomplished. This will help you stay focused and you will get more accomplished.

Remove any distractions. This can be people, music, the internet, or ANYTHING else that distracts you from getting work done. Get rid of it during times you have planned out to get some work done. It is no good to have an hour planned out to work on a lesson plan and then you check Facebook every 2 minutes. Get rid of the distractions for the whole time you plan to work.

Take Breaks/Guard Against Burnout. It is probably not a good idea to just plan out an 8 hour day 5 days a week to just “go at it.” We need breaks. They can help us be more productive. So work for the time period you have marked out and then take a 10 minute break. When you come back to the task you will be starting a little fresher than when you left and you may get more accomplished. Also make sure to take a full day off. We were not made to go 24/7/365. We have to have a day off and away from our normal tasks so that we can relax and come at our jobs more successfully. Find a day, and just as your guard the times you have to work, guard your day off (Want to read another blog post about having a day off, especially in youth ministry? Click here.).

Does this work for you? What other things would you add to this list? Go ahead and tell me, I want to hear from you!


2 Responses to “Working More Productively”

  1. Rose B said

    Brandon- I agree with your post. What I am writing, you may already do, so don’t think it’s a judgement on you. It’s what I’ve learned over the past 9 years of being a mom. I would encourage you to think about this in regards to your wife (especially if she’s a stay at home mom.) I found it easier when I worked outside the home to leave work at work and have a day of rest. When your work is within the home, it’s hard to take a break or a day off (there’s always meals to cook, clothes to fold, toys to pick up, diapers to change, etc.) I would encourage you to think about letting her get a nap or take over the cooking one day a week…she may need your “permission”/encouragement to take time for herself and find her “day of rest.”

    • Thanks for the comment Rose! Congrats on being the first to comment here haha! I totally agree with leaving work at work. It has proven difficult at times since we work with teens and they may need help in the evenings but as time has gone on we have gotten better about it. Pretty much every Saturday Jenny takes an extended nap while I am with Noah and I do some stuff around the house, just to give her a little time “off” as well. I appreciate the feedback!

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